Wednesday, August 26, 2020

St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Disappoints

At the August 25, 2020 St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Commission meeting, we had the best of times, "the worst of times."

Arbitration clause deleted from contact with TAYLOR ENGINEERING, whose President, Kenneth Craig, angrily said he'd have to check with his lawyer and left without answering Commissioners' questions.  Thank you for listening, Commissioners:  below is the e-mail I sent them early this afternoon. 

No official mention, or plaque or sheet cake, for former St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Chair BARRY MARK BENJAMIN, a Jacksonville resident.  He quit after I filed a 120-paragraph complaint about his voting from a boat where he does not live.

No one thanked Board attorney JAMES EDWIN BEDSOLE (2009-2020) for his service.  Wonder why?

BEDSOLE resigned in disgrace on Monday, August 24, 2020.

BEDSOLE was the architect of BARRY BENJAMIN's extravagantly illogical legal defense, paid by taxpayers, 2011-2020, which was ultimately a failure when the facts forced BENJAMIN's resignation,.  BEDSOLE should be investigated.

In June, BENJAMIN gave a phony address under oath (again), a marina, but then failed to qualify for re-election. 

BENJAMIN then resigned in disgrace.

For months, Port  Commissioner Sandy Flowers and I raised concerns, originally raised by Commissioner Jay Bliss, et al., that BENJAMIN was not a legal voter.  Commissioner Flowers verified with marina owners that BENJAMIN was not a live-aboard.  In fact, BENJAMIN lives in Jacksonville, and on Election Day 2016.  So far, voters have rejected CARL BLOW and JERRY DIXON; BENJAMIN resigned.  Now there are two 

Vice Chair THOMAS RIVERS and Commissioner CHRISTOPHER WAY: Two mossbacks and their legal and engineering mouthpieces, clinging to bizarre ideas about government, still throw their weight around the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District.  At their August 25, 2020 meeting, SAPWB showed itself to be an agency in existential crisis, torn between reform and corruption,

THOMAS RIVERS, Vice Chair, arrogated to himself the role of Chairman, and no one called for a vote, despite the fact that Chair BARRY MARK BENJAMIN quit, creating a vacancy.  RIVERS illegally stated at the beginning of the meeting that no public comment would be allowed on individual agenda items requiring decisions, thereby violating F.S. 286.0114(2), with no articulation as to why public comment was now being denied.   RIVERS acted like an imperious tsar, skipping agenda items entirely and never addressing the question of his not having been voted in as Chair.  On arbitration, he airily lectured us about real estate contracts, which are a non sequitur for government contracts.  This 78 year old drama queen is the St. Johns County Republican State Committeeman, elected without opposition.

CHRISTOPHER WAY, longtime Board member, refused to recuse himself on any matter coming before the Board.  Commissioner Sandy Flowers intends to file ethics charges over WAY's conflict of interest, disbursing money to a company with which his business contracts to install patented boat lifts. WAY looked crazed as he responded to conflict of interest concerns, intoning that he had never met the business owner in quo.  Physical contact is not required for a conflict of interest to exist based on contracting.  F.S. 313.312.  On or before November 3, residents of the Port District can vote to replace CHRIS WAY.  

KENNETH CRAIG, Vice President of TAYLOR ENGINEERING, 31-year contractor, said he'd have to check with his lawyer about deleting an arbitration clause.  CRAIG questioned whether he should respond to information requests from Commissioner Sandy Flowers.  Commissioners agreed that the engineer had to answer the Commissioner's questions.  When Commissioners decided not to agree to forced arbitration, CRAIG said he'd have to talk to his lawyer.  CRAIG was questioned about his bills while working without a contract. Commissioner Sandy Flowers had a number of questions she wanted answered.  But then, with all the grace of a dancing Clydesdale, CRAIG abruptly left the meeting, running into my cellular telephone cord charger and knocking my telephone to the ground,  I asked CRAIG to stay and answer Commissioner Flower's questions.  He said something inaudible in respond, and could be heard muttering to himself outside St. Augustine Beach City Hall,.  

Earlier, I overheard the conservation when a disdainful KENNETH CRAIG went up to Commissioner Flowers before the meeting, hustling a work order, where Commissioner Flowers said federal officials said no engineer was required.  

No comments: